Excitement is already building ahead of the inaugural Love Longford summer festival, which will take place at several locations throughout Longford town at the end of next month.
“It all kicks off on Thursday, June 27th, and it will be a four-day event, finishing on the 30th” said an enthusiastic Fergus Kennedy, Arts Officer with Longford Co Council. “We’re hoping it will grow in stature year-on-year from then on.”
Love Longford is essentially a community arts festival, which will bring together talented people from throughout the county and allow them to showcase their work, whilst also portraying a positive image of Longford. “The aim is to help develop a sense of community spirit and community pride to counteract the negative publicity about Longford,” Mr Kennedy revealed. “We want to draw from as many strands of the community as possible to stage a programme that shows the town at its best.”
The work of local artists, writers and musicians will be at the very centre of the Love Longford festival, and their work is set to be displayed in an innovative way. “We will have a number of ‘pop-up’ exhibitions – temporary galleries which will make use of some of the vacant commercial premises throughout the town,” Mr Kennedy continued. “Longford is the only county without a dedicated arts space, so this is a great alternative.” While the programme of events is still evolving, artists have been hard at work scheduling a series of five solo and group exhibitions, while lens-based artists also have plans to display their work.
Pupils from local schools will also construct art installations, which will be displayed in high profile public spaces, all designed around the Love Longford theme.
Meanwhile, writers will get on the act as submissions will be printed in the Longford Leader, with prizes awarded at a special literary night during the festival. All contributors will be recorded reading their work, which will be uploaded to Longford’s literary website, www.virtualwriter.net. There also plans to publish a professionally-edited anthology entitled ‘The Town I Love So Well’.
There will also be plenty of musical entertainment on offer, according to the Arts Officer: “We’ll have the biggest choir ever assembled in Longford, when we have several hundred singers gathered together in the Market Square on the Sunday evening. It’s sure to be a quite a spectacle.
“Throughout the weekend, there will also be impromptu street performances by bands from the Attic Youth Café and members of the Backstage Theatre Youth Group. These are guaranteed to be fun activities to take in for people who may be shopping or just walking through town.”
Speaking about plans for the grand finale on the Sunday, Mr Kennedy said it will include a special family day, which will take place in the grounds of Connolly Barracks. “There will be music from a variety of local musicians and bands, who will perform on the parade ground, and there will also be a number of food outlets on the site.”